Robert Dugger looked like a completely different pitcher to the one who made his major league debut against the Mets in early August. Miami's #24 prospect threw seven strong innings against the Reds last night, only allowing a two-run home run after a Lewis Brinson error extended the first inning.
Robert Dugger had e v e r y t h i n g working in his Marlins Park debut— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) August 30, 2019
7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R (0 ER), 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR (106 pitches) pic.twitter.com/wjhNkaz9Ia
At the plate, the Marlins experienced a power surge. Jon Berti, Austin Dean, and Starlin Castro all left the yard, but the game would enter extra innings tied at 3-3 after Jarlin Garcia and Ryne Stanek teamed up to allow the tying run in the eighth inning.
That was until Harold Ramirez hit a home run of his own in the 12th, ending the homestand in walk-off fashion.
In just a few days, rosters are set to expand for September call-ups, with an additional 15 spots available to each team over the final few weeks of the regular season. Typically, this is the time for rebuilding teams to hand out debuts to top prospects to gauge exactly how major league ready their talent pipeline is.
However, this is unlikely to be the case for the Marlins this year. They have a number of major league players—most notably Miguel Rojas and José Ureña—ready to come off the IL, and numerous top prospects either preparing for the Arizona Fall League or reaching their inning limits, as is the case with Sixto Sánchez and Jorge Guzman.
Miami has already cemented its 10th consecutive losing season, and a third 100-loss campaign in 26 seasons is looking more and more probable as the stretch run continues. With the remaining schedule packed with games against NL Wild Card contenders, the Marlins could even come close to matching the 1998 team for the worst season in franchise history with 108 losses.
On the bright side, the Clinton LumberKings have locked up a playoff berth in the Midwest League. The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and Batavia Muckdogs are all still battling down to the wire in their respective leagues too, so better days are coming.
Bye Bye, Baby Cakes
Last night marked the last-ever home game for the New Orleans Baby Cakes, as Miami's Triple-A affiliate prepares to relocate to Wichita for the 2020 season. The two cities have partnered since 2009, but now the future of minor league baseball down by the bayou is uncertain. The team can go out with a bang, though, as they have a chance to post their best record to date as a Marlins affiliate.
Batten Down the Hatches
With a potentially severe storm lurking in the Caribbean and on its way towards the state, the Marlins are taking every possible precaution to keep Marlins Park secure, just like they did when Irma rolled through in 2017 (an entire series against the Brewers did end up being moved to Milwaukee in the aftermath). The measures are extending to their minor league complex in Jupiter as well, as the uncertain path of Hurricane Dorian has everyone on high alert. The Marlins are not scheduled to play again in Miami until Sept. 6, but that series could still be impacted if South Florida is hit hard.
The Marlins will be well clear of hurricane Dorian as they begin a week-long road trip tonight against the Nationals at 7:05 p.m. ET. Elieser Hernández (3-5, 4.97 ERA) is scheduled to get the nod against former Marlin Aníbal Sánchez (8-6, 3.81 ERA).